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The Dominican Republic has emerged as one of the world’s best value beach destinations thanks to its sun-kissed coastline, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant Caribbean charms. There’s a little something for every type of traveler in the DR: Nature lovers can go hiking and zip lining through the country’s lush tropical rainforests, culture vultures will adore exploring the colonial architecture and cobblestone streets of Santo Domingo, and beach bums can spend their days lounging on the powdery sand and sipping fresh rum cocktails. Even the most opulent resorts in the Dominican Republic are relatively affordable, although for travelers who prefer a more intimate lodging experience, there are also plenty of quaint, luxurious boutique hotels to choose from. Below, a handful of our favorite properties in the Dominican Republic.
Best Overall: Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences
It’s all in the name: The Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences is simply the most sublime lodging in the Dominican Republic. This gorgeous, suites-only retreat is conveniently located near one of the country’s most popular beach towns, Las Terrenas, with stunning mountain scenery and towering palm trees encircling the property. Guests get the best of both worlds when they stay at The Sublime Samana: This peacefully remote hotel boasts a swath of private sand along the turquoise water, though it’s also within an hour’s drive of several natural attractions.
White-washed, contemporary suites are scattered around on the lush, immaculate grounds, and each commands either a garden or ocean view; suites are spacious and feature a king-size bed, bathroom with walk-in shower, living room, dining area, fully equipped kitchen, and a balcony or terrace, with all the luxury amenities you could ever need or want. There are two sleek swimming pools on the premises, complete with canopied daybeds, along with a premier spa, two gourmet restaurants, tennis courts, and a state-of-the-art gym. If you’re seeking the most luxe lodging in the DR, look no further than The Sublime Samana.
Best for Families: Casa Colonial Beach & Spa
Due to its spacious size, beachfront location, and relaxed atmosphere, family travelers love staying at Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, nestled between the honey-colored sands of Playa Dorada and the bright greens of Playa Dorada Golf Club. Downtown Puerto Plata, with its buzzing restaurant scene, is just a short taxi ride away. In addition to its prime location, this full-scale resort has plenty of amenities to keep travelers busy for days. Adults can work out at the sleek fitness center, take an oceanside Pilates or yoga class (totally free of charge), relax in the steam room at Bagua (Casa Colonial’s 13-room spa), or play a few rounds of golf; kids and parents alike will love splashing around in the resort’s rooftop infinity pool, an area that also features four private Jacuzzis and a poolside bar.
Service is ultra-friendly and attentive at Casa Colonial, and each of the hotel’s 50 guest suites is charmingly decorated with colonial-chic furnishings and original artworks. There are also two on-site restaurants here — Lucia, which serves inventive French-Caribbean cuisine, and Veranda, which offers delicious Dominican specialties alongside continental fare — so you never have to leave the resort.
Best for Romance: Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts
Situated serenely in Cap Cana, a hidden-away retreat inside Punta Cana, the adults-only Sanctuary Cap Cana is known for being a top lodging pick among honeymooners and romance-seekers. There’s no shortage of natural beauty here: The hotel is located near 30,000 acres of pristine white sand beaches and glimmering, blue-green waters, in addition to being a truly gorgeous space in its own right. With its magnificent stone facade and colonial-style design flourishes, Sanctuary Cap Cana resembles more of a Spanish villa than a flashy resort. There’s even a section of the property that’s designed to look like a 16th-century castle.
The suites and villas here are top-notch, featuring rich wood accents, elegant furnishings, and all the amenities: a minibar that’s re-stocked daily, espresso machine, flat-screen TV, silk slippers and bathrobes, and either a furnished balcony or terrace. During a stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana, couples can dine at one of five a la carte restaurants, opt for a number of soothing treatments at the world-class Sanctuary Spa, attend nightly cocktail parties, and pick between five outdoor swimming pools that are scenically nestled around the property.
Best Boutique: Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando
Centrally located in Santo Domingo, just a five-minute walk from Plaza Colon, the UNESCO-listed Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando is a historical treasure and easily the best boutique in the country. Comprised of three stone houses built in 1502, the hotel is named after the town’s founder, Nicolas de Ovando. Though the property’s 16th-century architectural details and impressive heritage design are striking enough on their own, there are excellent on-site amenities here, as well.
Guests love relaxing in the outdoor pool and bar area (where you can gaze out over the scenic River Ozama), sipping wine in the sun-splashed courtyards, and indulging in blissful whole-body treatments at the luxury spa. The 12-room Imperial Club is reserved for guests who want to take advantage of the hotel’s specialized services, like a private check-in, continental breakfast, daily drinks and snacks, and even a complimentary massage. Rooms offer an array of modern conveniences including satellite TV, mini-bar, direct-dial phone, and Wi-Fi, and most have spectacular views of the river and the bustling Las Damas.
Best for Luxury: Eden Roc at Cap Cana
If it’s true luxury you’re after, look no further than Eden Roc at Cap Cana, located inside the Dominican Republic’s elite gated community of Cap Cana. This dreamy resort complex features 32 suites, 2 villas, and 26 two-bedroom beachfront apartments for rent, all located on an insanely picturesque strip of sand, complete with lush gardens and a towering lagoon. The sophisticated amenities at Eden Roc don’t stop — there are six different haute restaurants to choose from, an oceanside spa, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, and even a kids club with a mini-spa. In addition, the Eden Roc Beach Club is a private club for guests craving an (even more) exclusive experience; facilities at the Beach Club include a private infinity pool, beach bar serving gourmet snacks, fitness and wellness spa, two restaurants, and personalized beach butlers.
Each of the hotel’s boutique suites is beautifully decorated, with high ceilings, gleaming wood beams, and luxurious linens. In a particularly thoughtful touch, guests get their own golf carts, which makes getting to and from the beach, shops, and restaurants easy and fun. For the best in luxury lodging in the DR, resorts don’t come nicer than Eden Roc at Cap Cana.
Best for Nightlife: CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts
For the bar-hopping nightlife seekers heading to the Dominican Republic, a stay at the CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts is just what the doctor ordered. Located on the lovely white sands of Punta Cana’s Uvero Alto Beach, the CHIC by Royalton offers both extravagant amenities and the perfect centralized location for exploring the area’s buzzing bar, restaurant, and nightclub scene. With 320 elegantly decorated guestrooms, this five-star, adults-only resort is spacious, luxe, and chock-full of some of the best amenities and on-site services you could imagine.
Here, guests can get pampered at the CHIC’s full-scale spa, partake in nightly entertainment in the form of live music and DJ parties by the pool area, dine at one of several restaurants on the premises, and enjoy private beach access and artisanal cocktails served by CHIC staff. Rooms are trendy, comfy, and equipped with all the essentials: free Wi-Fi, Bluetooth audio station, high thread count sheets, 24-hour concierge service, wall-mounted liquor dispenser, coffee and tea maker, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and 24-hour room service.
Best for Business: Billini Hotel
Business travelers staying in Santo Domingo should book a room at the Billini Hotel, a downtown boutique property set in a beautifully restored convent. Combining modernist design with 15th-century brick and arches, the Billini is one of the most unique and exquisitely designed hotels in the Dominican. This first-rate hotel feels like a private oasis, but it’s actually just steps away from all the best shops, restaurants, and bars in Santo Domingo.
Accommodations here are warm, cozy, and ideal for those traveling on business — staff members are friendly, and there are several on-site facilities and services to take advantage of, including a top-notch restaurant (Castil, which serves both Dominican and international fare), an outdoor pool with stunning views of the city skyline, a well-equipped fitness center and spa, a wine cellar, shuttle services, and a complimentary business center with two internet workstations. Rooms at the Billini are attractively decorated with sleek tile, black-and-white prints of Santo Domingo, and bright splashes of color; plus, some rooms have private balconies or terraces that look out over the cityscape and the hotel’s peaceful courtyard area.
Best B&B: Garden by the Sea Bed & Breakfast
For the ultimate B&B experience in the Dominican, travelers should book a room at the quaint, relaxing Garden by the Sea. This top-rated bed-and-breakfast is situated just steps away from an immaculate private beach, in Sosua, and is lovingly run by hotel owner Nikki Wilson. The Garden by the Sea overflows with charm and thoughtful amenities, such as a sizeable pool and spa, a fully stocked outdoor kitchen, a bar with local beer and wine, lush gardens ringed by tropical plants and palm trees, colorful hammocks strung up all over the grounds, and a delicious complimentary breakfast of fresh fruit, juice, eggs, pancakes, bacon, and plantains.
The property consists of six guestrooms housed in adorable whitewashed bungalows with red-tiled roofs, and in-room amenities include a canopy bed, coffee and tea maker, kitchenette, TV, laptop safe, microwave, and other basics. At the Garden by the Sea, guests enjoy a highly personalized and comfortable experience, in a tucked-away gated community, directly on the beach.
Best Hostel: GAVA Hostel
Beloved by budget-savvy travelers everywhere, GAVA Hostel in Punta Cana may be tiny — with just four dorm beds and one private room — but its small size is precisely what makes it so fantastic. GAVA is run by a friendly couple (Andrey and Valentina); you can expect personalized service and thoughtful attention to detail that likely exceeds that of other hostels you’ve experienced. The cozy, sunnily painted property is ideally located, in a quiet part of town — it’s just a seven-minute walk away from popular Los Corales Beach.
The hostel has a full range of amenities geared towards backpacker clientele, from a well-stocked kitchen (perfect for preparing your own meals, if you want to save money) and sizeable lounge area to a lovely terrace atop the roof. Rooms are sparse yet sparkling clean, and come equipped with fans and personal lockers; dorm rooms have a shared bathroom while the private room has its own en-suite bathroom. Conveniently, guests at GAVA are within walking distance of several restaurants and bars, as well as a couple supermarkets and a pharmacy.